Are There Any Sound Reasons Not to Get Vaccinated

George J. Ziogas

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Getting vaccinated against Covid or any other disease may carry some risk for certain groups of people. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) monitors vaccine use and the risks of getting a vaccine. There are common, sound reasons for some groups of people not to get vaccinated.

FDA and CDC

Before a vaccine can be used in the general population, it undergoes large-scale clinical trials. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for monitoring those trials. They review all the data and determine if a vaccine should be authorized for general use.

During a clinical trial, participants may or may not fit into specific groups of people. Clinical trial participants are volunteers, so while some may have underlying health conditions, belong to a particular age group, or have a specific ancestry, not every group of people may be represented. Researchers attempt to use as many different types of volunteers as possible and report which groups participated in the clinical trial.

Once a vaccine is in use, the CDC is responsible for monitoring its safety and effectiveness. As more people are vaccinated, other groups of people are included. The CDC gathers and analyzes this data to determine if a vaccine is safe and effective for everyone.

Prior Allergic Reactions

Many vaccines require more than one dose. If a person has had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of a vaccine, the CDC states they should not get a second dose. Severe allergic reactions are different than vaccine side effects. Mild side effects like pain at the injection site, tiredness, or a slight fever are common after receiving any vaccine. Severe allergic reactions are usually life-threatening and may be fatal.

The most serious or severe allergic reaction to a vaccine is anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis occurs when a person's blood pressure drops, can't breathe and becomes unconscious. Without medical treatment, anaphylaxis is fatal.

According to a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the overall rate of anaphylaxis for all vaccines is 1.31 for every one million doses of vaccines given. Scientists agree that statistically, this rate makes anaphylaxis a rare risk of vaccination. Researchers are still investigating why some people have this reaction.

Autoimmune Disorders

With certain vaccines, people who have autoimmune disorders may not get the vaccine. A study in Oxford Academic states that people with an already weakened immune system or who have an autoimmune disease may not respond as well to a vaccine as other people.

People with autoimmune diseases may not receive the same level of protection from a vaccine because their immune system cannot produce enough antibodies against the disease.

The CDC recommends that people with a weakened immune system or an autoimmune disorder still get the Covid vaccine. While some people with HIV were included in the clinical trials, the CDC states that there is not enough data to fully determine the vaccine's safety and effectiveness for people with a weakened immune system or immune disorder. But the CDC argues that the risk of having severe Covid disease for these groups of people outweighs the possible risk of getting vaccinated.

People Who Had Covid

When you contract a contagious disease and recover from it, your body builds immunity for the next time you're exposed to it. This helps keep you from getting sick again. For example, if you had chickenpox, you don't need to get the varicella vaccine.

The CDC states that even if you had Covid, you should get the vaccine. Scientists don't know how long the immunity from having Covid lasts, so getting the vaccine may extend the time you are immune. However, the CDC does recommend that you wait 90 days after recovering from Covid before getting the vaccine.

Getting More Than One Vaccine at a Time

While your immune system is designed to create immunity against contagious diseases, the CDC does not always recommend getting multiple vaccines at the same time. While some vaccines may be given together, for example, the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, the CDC recommends not getting any other vaccines within 14 days of getting the Covid vaccine.

Before you get a vaccine, talk with your doctor about whether it will be safe and effective for you. You should also discuss the timing of multiple vaccines with your doctor.

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